Gas and electricity

Making a few simple changes can lead to big savings on your gas and electricity bills, or, if you think you are paying too much for your electricity or gas services, you can consider switching to a new provider. Switching is easy and it’s also free.

For accredited price comparison websites visit www.bonkers.ie or www.switcher.ie.

Money saving tips

Heating and insulation

  • Insulating your home is an easy and cost-effective way to save money on your heating bills. For example, insulating your attic can cut your heating bills by up to 20%
  • Heating water is one of the most expensive electricity costs in the home. You can save money by only heating as much water as you need. Install a timer control switch for your hot water tank if you don’t already have one
  • Reduce your heating to a comfortable 20°C. Lowering your thermostat by just 1°C can knock 10% off your heating bill
  • Installing a lagging jacket can save you up to €2.50 a week in water heating costs and can pay for itself within three months
  • You should have your boiler serviced every year to help ensure it is safe, that it’s operating efficiently, and to help avoid breakdowns. Modern boilers are far more efficient and cost effective than older versions. Remember, it is illegal for anyone other than a Registered Gas Installer to service your natural gas boiler. Registered Gas Installers have completed safety training, conform to Irish standards and have insurance. Find a Registered Gas Installer at rgii.ie

Doors and windows

  • A lot of heat can be lost through your windows, particularly if they are single-glazed. If you are buying new windows, do some research – more efficient windows can save you more in energy costs over their lifetime
  • Block up leaks and drafts, particularly around windows, doors and the roof. Never block vents in your rooms as fresh air is needed
  • Use heavy curtains, preferably lined ones, to keep in warm air. Close curtains at night – even in empty rooms. Open the curtains during the day to let in the heat from the sun. Make sure that curtains don’t hang over radiators as they will block heat getting into the room

Fireplaces

  • With open fires, 70% of the heat from the fire gets lost up the chimney. Installing a stove instead of an open fire will use less fuel and give out more heat, saving you money on your heating bills
  • If you are not using open fires for long periods, prevent draughts from the chimney by getting a chimney balloon from a hardware shop

Bathrooms

  • It costs the same amount of money to heat the water for one bath as it does for five showers – so save money (and water!) and take showers

Kitchens

  • On average, smaller appliances use less than a fifth of the electricity used by large ones – so using a toaster to make toast will only cost you a fifth of the cost of toasting the bread under the grill
  • When using an electric kettle, only boil as much water as you need
  • A half-full dishwasher, washing machine or dryer uses the same amount of energy as a full one. Wait until your dishwasher or washing machine is full before turning it on, or if your appliance has a half-load setting, use this instead to save money

Turn off and unplug

  • Leaving electrical appliances on standby, or leaving phone chargers plugged in when you’re not using them costs money – so unplug them! Unplugging all non-essential electrical appliances could reduce the average household electricity bill by between €50 and €100 a year
  • You can try theElectric Ireland appliance calculator to find out how much each of your electrical appliances costs you to run

Energy efficient appliances

  • If you are buying new appliances, ask what energy rating they are. The higher the rating, the more efficient the appliance will be, costing you less to run. ‘A’ rated appliances are the most cost efficient

You can get lots more energy-saving information from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Switching gas or electricity provider

If you are unhappy with the service you are getting from your electricity or gas provider, or if you think you are paying too much, you can easily switch to a new provider.

For accredited price comparison websites visit www.bonkers.ie or www.switcher.ie.

How do I switch?

Switching is free and only takes a few minutes to complete online, over the phone or at your doorstep. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1 – Choose a provider

Shop around to check which plan works best for you. Make sure you are comparing like with like and remember domestic and business rates will differ. Make sure you compare both the unit rate and the standing charge when comparing plans. The Commission for Energy Regulation provides a list of electricity and gas providers with some helpful hints and tips on switching.

  • Consider getting natural gas and electricity from the same provider. Some suppliers offer discounts if you get both your gas and electricity from them
  • Consider paying by direct debit. Most suppliers offer discounts if you pay your bills by direct debit
  • You are entitled to a 14-day cooling-off period, so if you are not happy with the terms and conditions of your contract, you can cancel it within that time. Remember though, if the service has already started, you might have to pay for the portion you have used

Step 2 – Provide details to your new provider

When you contact the provider you have chosen, you will be asked for your meter point registration number (MPRN). You will find this on your electricity bill and on your meter. Your new supplier will ask you for your address and a meter reading, so make sure you have this information. They will then make the necessary arrangements with your old supplier to have your account switched. If you are going to pay by direct debit, you will need to give your new supplier your bank details.

Step 3 – Switch

Once your account has switched over, your new provider will send you a welcome letter and you will receive a final bill from your old supplier. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of your new contract. If you have any questions about your new contract, you should contact your new supplier.

Frequently asked questions

Is any special equipment needed to switch?


No. There is no need to carry out any work on your home, and no rewiring is required. You will keep the same electricity and gas meters when you switch and your meter will still be read by the gas and electricity networks (ESB Networks for electricity and Bord Gáis Networks for gas), regardless of which provider you choose.

What happens if I have a problem with my gas or electricity supply?


These problems will still be dealt with by ESB Networks or Gas Networks Ireland, which manage the supply and delivery of electricity and gas to homes.

How often will I be billed?


Each provider has different price plans available with different billing cycles.

Can I switch if I am in arrears with my current electricity or gas account?


Yes. However, your new provider will know if there are arrears on your electricity or gas account through the “debt flagging” system which was introduced by the Commission for Energy Regulation.

Do I have to pay a deposit?


Some providers may charge a deposit. This is usually repaid if you meet the terms and conditions in relation to paying your bills or when you close your account. Check the terms and conditions of each supplier to see if a deposit is required and when it will be paid back to you.

If I agreed to switch provider at my doorstep and have changed my mind, what can I do?


A 14-day cooling-off period applies, so if you are not happy with the terms and conditions of your contract, you can cancel it by contacting the provider you signed up to.

Will I be tied into a contract if I switch?


Check the terms and conditions of the payment plan you are choosing. Some suppliers have no minimum time requirement before you can switch again, but others offer fixed term contracts. If you choose a fixed term contract you may have to stay with that provider for a minimum length of time before you can switch, or a penalty may apply.

Is there a charge for switching?

No. There is no charge for switching to a new gas or electricity provider unless you have a fixed term contract that ties you to your old provider for a specified term.

What if I have problems switching?


The Commission for Energy Regulation requires electricity and gas providers to have codes of practice and customer charters setting out their processes and commitments to their customers. These must include complaints handling, customer billing and payments.

Your provider must give you a copy of its codes and charter if you ask for them and publish them on its website.

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